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Career and Education Opportunities for Grounds Foremen in Chicago, Illinois

Grounds foreman career and educational opportunities abound in Chicago, Illinois. About 7,750 people are currently employed as grounds foremen in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 18% to 9,160 people employed. This is better than the national trend for grounds foremen, which sees this job pool growing by about 14.9% over the next eight years. In general, grounds foremen plan, organize, direct, or coordinate activities of workers engaged in landscaping or groundskeeping activities, such as planting and maintaining ornamental trees, shrubs, and lawns, and applying fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals, according to contract specifications.

Grounds foremen earn approximately $19 per hour or $40,620 yearly on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $19 hourly or $39,920 annually. Grounds foremen earn more than people working in the category of Building Maintenance generally in Illinois and more than people in the Building Maintenance category nationally.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including six within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a grounds foreman. Given that the most common education level for grounds foremen is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a grounds foreman if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Grounds Foreman

Grounds Foreman video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, grounds foremen plan, organize, direct, or coordinate activities of workers engaged in landscaping or groundskeeping activities, such as planting and maintaining ornamental trees, shrubs, and lawns, and applying fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals, according to contract specifications. They also may also coordinate activities of workers engaged in terracing hillsides, building retaining walls, constructing pathways, and similar activities in following a landscape design plan.

Grounds foremen furnish staff with assistance in performing duties as needed to meet deadlines. They also recommend changes in working conditions or machinery use, so as to increase crew efficiency. Equally important, grounds foremen have to order the performance of corrective work when problems occur, and recommend procedural changes to avoid such problems. They are often called upon to talk with other supervisors to direct work efforts with those of other departments or units. They are expected to establish and enforce operating procedures and work standards that will insure adequate performance and personnel safety. Finally, grounds foremen perform administrative duties such as authorizing leaves and processing time sheets.

Every day, grounds foremen are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for grounds foremen to maintain required records such as personnel data and project records. They are often called upon to schedule work for crews depending on work priorities, crew and machinery availability, and weather conditions. They also direct and assist staff working on the maintenance and up keep machinery such as power tools and motorized machinery. They are sometimes expected to direct or perform mixing and application of fertilizers and fungicides. Somewhat less frequently, grounds foremen are also expected to furnish staff with assistance in performing duties as needed to meet deadlines.

They also have to be able to perform administrative duties such as authorizing leaves and processing time sheets and ready and maintain required records such as work activity and personnel reports. And finally, they sometimes have to inspect contracts or work assignments to establish service and workforce requirements for jobs.

Like many other jobs, grounds foremen must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Grounds Foreman Training

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has 2 areas of study related to Grounds Foreman. They are:

  • Ornamental Horticulture, less than one year which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping, one to two year which graduated 7 students in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has 2 areas of study related to Grounds Foreman. They are:

  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated three and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Turf and Turfgrass Management, associate's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has 2 areas of study related to Grounds Foreman. They are:

  • Ornamental Horticulture, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping, one to two year which graduated 3 students in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has 2 areas of study related to Grounds Foreman. They are:

  • Landscaping and Groundskeeping, less than one year and one to two year which graduated one and six students respectively in 2008.
  • Turf and Turfgrass Management, less than one year which graduated 8 students in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has an associate's degree program in Turf and Turfgrass Management which graduated six students in 2008.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has a less than one year program in Landscaping and Groundskeeping which graduated three students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Desert Landscaper: The Desert Botanical Garden is pleased to offer the Desert Landscaper Certification Program for over ten years.

For more information, see the Desert Botanical Garden website.

Arborist / Municipal Specialist: This credential was developed by the ISA and the Society of Municipal Arboriculture for those involved in managing the complex aspect of trees in an urban environment.

For more information, see the International Society of Arboriculture website.

Certified Ornamental Lanscape Professional: Earn the Certified Ornamental Landscape Professional (COLP) designation by completing the "Principles of Landscape Tree & Shrub Maintenance" self-study course.

For more information, see the Professional Landcare Network website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.